Suckouts

Puffmammy 2010/11 Quarterly Tournament 3

The race for the POY title has entered it’s make-or break period. After D’s win earlier in the week, he had a 33-point lead on me, which was 14% of his total points. There were only five events left in the season, with two of them being a quarterly and the Main Event final, both of which award double points. I haven’t made particularly good showings in them in the past, for some reason, and there was a lot of concern on my part that D would extend his lead past a point where I had any chance to catch up. N was still in the running, as well, only a point behind me after the last game.

The field was larger than we’d had in a while, which meant that even more points were going to be awarded to the top spots. Our table was dominated much of the evening by B, who’s only played with us a few times but who has a good cashing rate. He knocked out K early on and quickly put his doubled stack to work pushing people around. I got a taste of it with Ax9x. B was in the hand with myself and his wife No. The flop had A, but there were two other hearts, as well. The pot was good-sized on the turn with another Ax when I called No’s large bet, but B raised all-in and I couldn’t continue. No went all-in and showed the flush, B had just two pair, but the case Ax came on the river and I would have scooped it all if I’d stayed in (although quad aces would not have been the high hand for the night, there was a Jx-high straight flush on the other table in the first five minutes.

I won one hand that I shouldn’t have shortly after T, one of the new players from the other table, was moved next to me after a couple of knockouts. I pushed with 8x8x on a TxTx9x board and we were all-in before the river. T had me crushed with QxQx and I was going to be out relatively early since we were past the re-buy period. But another 8x came with the river and I sucked a big chunk of his chips away, leaving him to be preyed on by No a bit later.

I pulled down a bunch of chips from B with an Ax6x flush that he apparently didn’t think I had. At one point on the final table I was chip leader.

D was seated to my right as we got short-handed. He was getting a little antsy with a short stack and when I had TxTx he was all-in with a suited one-gapper. I was safe through the flop and turn and actually thought I’d won the hand at first but a 6x on the river made a straight for him and he sprang back to life instead of letting me gain on him gracefully.

I doubled up B, as well, and then I was the short stack going into the end game. My last hand was a club short of a flush, with D taking me out in third place. I fell another five points behind, but my usual showing at the quarterlies would have gained him another dozen or more points, so it could have been a lot worse.

I’d Like to Thank the Academy

Full Tilt 90-Player Turbo KO Sit & Go (3,000 chips)

D and I were talking after the last tournament about playing on Full Tilt and he mentioned that he’s been working on some of their Academy challenges, and that doing so sort of puts you out of your comfort zone, which could be good or bad, depending on how it goes. He wanted the little hat that apparently goes on your badge at the table, too. I went to the Full Tilt Academy and looked for a Challenge for myself, finding “Tournament Checklist” by Andy Bloch.

Basically, the Challenge is to:

  1. With a stack of 50 or more big blinds, call a raise and see a flop with no-gap or one-gap suited connectors smaller than 10 or a suited ace with a kicker of 8 or less. Do it twice.
  2. With a stack of 25 to 50 big blinds, fold the same set of cards to a raise twice.
  3. With a stack of 15 to 25 times the big blind, re-raise all-in (and win) with suited Ax8x or less, pocket pair 8x8x or less, or KxJx, KxQx (suited or unsuited).
  4. With a stack of 15 big blinds or less, open raise all-in and win with the same set of cards.
  5. Cash in a normal tournament and a turbo tournament within 48 hours.

All of the tasks have to be completed in real money games of 45 or more players; they can’t be Rush, On-Demand, or Multi-Entry tournaments (which makes it a bit hard as Full Tilt keeps adding those options to every tournament).

Anyway, I made my first stab at the Challenge in a 90-player game last night.

My first chance came eight hands in. I had 2,910 chips—73BB—on the button with 5A. But nobody raised! Just three limpers ahead of me. I suppose I could have raised to see if I could provoke a re-raise that I could call before the flop. 68A and action folded all the way around to me. I bet 80 and got one call. Q on the turn game me a flush draw so I bet 200 after it was checked to me and took the pot.

Picked up 99 three hands later and raised to 190 (leaving an even 3,000 behind) after one player limped in for 50. Got calls from hijack, cutoff, and the limper in UTG+2. Flop of 47K. Limper checked and I bet 200. HJ called and the others folded. 1,235 in the pot and a Q on the river. Limper was down to about 2,100; I had 2,800. I checked and he followed to see the K on the river. I bet another 200 and he must have been hoping his pair was good with 79. I can only with the case nine had shown up because I think he would have been all-in.

AQ cost me a couple hundred a few hands later but the very next hand I picked up the Mutant Jack: AJ on the button. UTG limped for 80 and I called. Small blind raised to 320, BB and UTG called, then I re-raised to 640. Everyone called and there was 2,560 (32BB) in the pot preflop. 499 gave me a nut flush draw. Everyone checked to me and I went all-in for 3,075. I had SB covered; BB had 3,455; UTG was big stack at the table with 8,350.

I had 5,415 on the BB at 60/120 (45BB) a little later with the “computer hand” of 7Q. Not exactly something I’d play nine-handed but there was only one caller with a little larger stack than me. The flop was K76 and I bet 180 on my middle pair, getting a call. 3 on the turn, I checked and the other guy bet 120, which I called. My seven tripped up with 7 on the river and I bet 600, getting paid off by the JK.

My premium 9A and KQ hands both cost me more than 1K each shortly thereafter, however, the first after I laid it down in the face of nothing connecting and a large post-flop bet, and the second on the turn after a third club appeared on the turn and my opponent went all-in. Those cut me down from over 6,600 to just under 4,300.

And that’s where I was when my second chance for completing an Academy task came, with A3 on the BB of 160. I had just over 25 big blinds. UTG raised to 560 and action folded all the way to me. I was supposed to fold to a raise here, per task 2 but I’d miscalculated the division and though I was below 25 blinds and was supposed to try to re-raise and win. I got the first part of it right, anyway. He had only 55 chips behind but 88 in his hand. No diamonds on the board, just one Tx short of Broadway.

37 minutes, 31 hands. No tasks completed. No KOs. 46th place.

Hansen, He’s So Hot Right Now

Talking with D a few months back, he mentioned that he and K—the only other person with a chance to win the POY title in our home series this year—had been talking together about how I’d improved, and compared my playing style to Gus Hansen. Personally, I was thinking  of myself as more of an old, fat Phil Laak, but I saw this paragraph in a report today and had to send it to them to see if perhaps it’s what they were thinking about subconciously:

Hansen’s profits over the past week have brought his 2011 earnings to a massive $4 million. However, the Danish poker pro is no stranger to fast starts. In both 2009 and 2010 Hansen opened with multi-million dollar wins in the first few months of the year, only to finish the respective calendar year in the hole.

Funding Third Place

Puffmammy Tournament 21 (1,500 chips)

Another grisly night as my three-month POY lead slips further into history. I had one premium pair the entire night, AxAx that I was in great position to call a series of three-bets leading to an all-in by G, to my immediate left. I had him covered, I had the best cards possible, and he was groaning when he saw what his KxKx was up against. Needless to say, another Kx showed on the flop and I was short-stacked. The other notable hand of the night I was holding KJ and that paired a Kx on the flop. Two other players (on a six-player table) had the other kings, one with a low kicker that gave him two pair on the flop, but 9x9x  on the turn counterfeited the lower pair and the pot went to the hand holding AxKx.

Two rebuys and an add-on only got me as far as 10th place out of 12. Third prize for the night equalled my contributions to the pot. D took first place and extended his POY lead substantially with a number of points for this one event equal to twice the points I’ve picked up in the past five events.

The Nines

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

I ended up entering this tournament twice. There were a total of 435 entries from 295 players. Looking at the payouts, it’s sort of sobering to see how the multi-entry format makes it possible to make it into the money but still be behind at the end. One ninth of the forty-five players who got payouts were anywhere from a couple cents to an entire buyin underwater.

My first entry came to a screeching halt fairly early with KA. I’d fallen to just over 1,000 chips and got some good cards in UTG+3, raising to 125, but got a call from the small blind. The flop was uncoöperative with 3T7 and I tried to push it with a 300 bet but got an all-in from the SB, who still had an inferior hand with their 89 but was in good shape with a larger stack. I called (obviously, or I wouldn’t know their cards) and a 6 made their straight on the turn.

I had a little better luck with the second entry (I don’t make them simultaneously) but it was AK that did me in after a bit longer session. I was in the small blind, UTG+3 limped in, I raised to 600 and it was down to me and the UTG+3 when he called. 4TT on the flop. I made the desperate move of going all-in and he called me—with more than 20K and 8T in his hand, who wouldn’t? I was out—twice!—first in 142nd place and then in 86th. 28 minutes total.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

15 minutes. 140th place out of 264 entries.

Full Tilt Multi-Rush On Demand (1,500 chips)

7 minutes. 152nd place out of 223 entries. Not an improvement.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #44 6-Max KO $350,000 Guarantee (5,000 chips)

Play started off slow for me in this game: at least, it felt slow compared to the Rush games. But I really do like the 6-Max format, and the fact that this had knockout bounties and a large purse made it very attractive to me, despite the rather ugly history of my previous miniFTOPS outing.

I’d only lost a hundred or so chips to blinds when I picked up my first win ten minutes into the game with KJ. There was 140 in the pot and a flop of K3K which three players checked around. Another 3 on the turn and I popped out 40 for a bet, getting one call from a player who’d already lost a couple thousand chips. The 9 meant nothing to my full house, so I matched the pot and got a callI don’t know why—from the other player, holding A7.

The same guy got into it with me on the next hand. I had A2 and I was heads-up after raising to 90 pre-flop. The flop was J77, and I bet 75 after a check from the other player. 3 on the turn and we both checked. I got a pair with the river A. He bet 105 and I just called. He could have had another 7x or an Ax with a higher kicker—it wouldn’t have been hard—but no, just T2. It baffled me but I took the chips. He was moved to another table shortly thereafter.

Twenty minutes into the match we were playing five-handed and, I got Q8 in the UTG+1/hijack seat. Sort of an iffy hand—not high enough to make a killer pair, tent ends of a straight—but it’s in The Grid for six-handed play. Blinds were 15/30, UTG folded, and I raised to 75. Small blind called and the flop made the hand iffy no longer: [1h]26. I bet 120 after SB checked, then he called. 8 on the turn and he led out with 180, which I re-raised to 360, getting a call. 4 on the river. He checked and I made a 300 chip bet hoping that seemed weak enough to lure him in. He called and showed 77. I was up over 6,400.

My first bounty came with a player who’d lost all but 600 of his chips half-an-hour in, most in a 3-way battle with him having AxTx double-paired against a guy who was playing a suited queen and drew to a flush (not me). I was in the small blind with 99. UTG and the small stack on the button limped in. I raised to 120, which was met by both the limpers. 386 was the flop and I figured I’d keep the gas on, fairly certain that the small stack was going all-in. UTG dropped out; the button raised all-in for 490. I called and he flipped over 77, which wasn’t good news for him. J and Q on the turn and river. Pushed me up to just about 7K.

More pocket pairs: JJ on the big blind. Button—big stack at the table—raised to 150 and I re-raised to 325. The flop was T67. I bet out 400 and got a call. 8 on the turn improved my hand to a straight draw, which I checked just for fun, provoking an 800 bet. Who wouldn’t call that? The river 3 didn’t make any difference, but I was a little concerned he might have a 9x. I checked and he did, too, but his A6 wasn’t going anywhere and I was the big stack at the table for the next hand, with over 7,600 chips.

The Mutant Jack showed up to propel me over 10K about 45 minutes in. I was in the cutoff position with JA at 30/60. Two players to my left had more chips than I did (both had been brought in from other tables). UTG raised to 180, hijack called, I called, small blind called. 780 in the pot when the 4QA flop showed. UTG bet 780, so I was guessing he had an Ax. I called (Did he have a Kx? Was he already double-paired?). T for the turn. He bet again: 420. I figured: “What the heck, it’s the Mutant Jack.” 7 river. A whole lot of potential double-paired kicker combos out there; he might not need to have anything better than the J. He bet another 600, I gulped and paid the price, but all he had was A2. I only had 10,017, so I didn’t stay above the line for more than a hand.

AT was my last hand before the first break, and I picked up about 500 chips with it, which got me back over the line by 50. I popped off a note to Tomer, who had just arrived in Austria for EPT Snowfest. At the break, the chip average was 6,900, there were 10,900 players (registration was still open), and I was in 1,188th place. Tomer wrote back that he was watching my table while he ate dinner. Yikes!

A quarter-hour after the break, I’d only won one hand—and that was just the blinds. I was down to about 9K when I picked up 7Q on the button. Everything I said about 8Q above goes double for this pair of cards, and it won’t even make the straight. But it is on The Grid for six players, so long as you don’t put too much faith in it. The blinds were 50/100 and hijack raised to 214. I called and the big blind came along. Both stacks were a good bit smaller than me. The flop was a semi-promising TJ4. BB checked, HJ bet 345, I called and BB folded. A K showed on the turn and HJ bet another 645. I had a straight and flush draw but nothing else. I called. 7 on the river, a bet of 1,245 from HJ. I folded and consoled myself with having an 80% win rate at showdown, but I was down to 7,900 chips.

I continued a steady, slow bleed of chips after that, at one point folding five hands in a row after putting out blinds or bets. I was down to 6,000 before I managed to turn things around with JJ that turned into trips on the flop. My real breakthrough came halfway through the second hour when I made the first of two big mistakes.

I was on the button with about 7,200 chips. Both the blinds (which were 80/160) had about 3,500. UTG and cutoff were both over 10K, and hijack had a few hundred more than I did. Both the big stacks stayed out of this hand, but HJ bet 324. With 99 in my hand, I raised to 560. Short-stacked big blind went all-in for 3,561. HJ folded but I thought BB was pushing with a strong ace. Calling would cost me half my stack if I lost but I did it, feeling very stupid when he flipped over QQ. The 653 flop was bleak, but the turn and river were 99 for some major suckage. Another bounty and I was up to 11K. I managed to get over 12K, but within 20 minutes I was back below the 8K mark.

Someone else’s nines didn’t fare so well against me just before second break. Blinds were 120/240/25 and I was on the button again, only with AA. UTG—with only about 2,500 chips—raised to 555. I re-raised to 1,080, the blinds got out of the way, and UTG called. The flop was K52, he checked, and I bet 480, fairly sure he was committed to going all-in. He did and I called. 99, but no miracle for him on the turn and river, just 24. That netted me 3K and put me back near 12K. I was falling further behind the leaders, though, with all of this up-and-down motion.

My last bounty came through no action of my own, shortly after the second break. I was big blind with A7, so I was playing, no matter what. Action folded all the way around to the small blind, who had only about 2,200. He went all-in and I called, with more than 9K behind. He flipped K3, the board ran out Q99A8, and I scooped his chips.

Another series of decent cards that didn’t connect followed that, and I’d slipped down to 9,200 twenty minutes after the second break. Blinds were 170/340/25, and I was on the big blind holding 43, which I would normally just toss. Hijack min-raised to 680, everyone else folded, and I thought I’d get fancy and play my low cards to see if they’d connect. We were almost evenly matched, with me having about 400 more chips. The flop was 223! I had a pair! I bet 1,680 (the pot) and got a re-raise for 8,090. I could have stopped there and saved my 6,800 chips but I called and he rolled over 44. If only my hand had been 2x3x. KJ on the turn and river. On my next and last hand I was one card away from a flush and a straight that would have ended in a split pot but my J8 was beat by a 5J that paired the first card on the flop.

140 minutes, 4 bounties, -38% ROI. Finished 6,311 out of 17,102 players.

It’s a busy week in the non-poker sphere but I’m watching Tomer’s progress at Snowfest today; tonight I’ll be trying to get my quest for the puffmammy POY back on track, and this weekend is one of our double-point quarterly events.

The Brick

Mostly red across the board for the past couple days as I find myself falling into the bad habit of thinking people are bluffing more often than they actually are.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Downhill all the way for twenty minutes. Lots of aces in my hands (4 out of 36) but nothing connected. Biggest loss was with A8 and an eight-high open-ended straight draw on the flop. Didn’t make it, though, and I was out in 1,515th of 2,080.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

Started off very well here. Joined a few minutes into the game so my first hand was in the big blind (15/30) with a normally unplayable K7. There were only seven players at the table at the time. There were two limpers and I let it run. I hit middle pair with Q67 and decided to play with it a bit so I bet 45. One of the limpers folded and the other raised to 150, which I called. Another 6 on the river and I decided I needed to try to end it so I bet 120 but I got a call from the other side. The river was 2. I checked to see what he had and he bet 540. A 6x beat but I figured it was worth a look so I plopped down a third of my stack to see 45 with busted flush and open-ended straight draws. So that was a nice first hand.

Just a few hands later I picked up KQ in the cutoff. I limped in, as did the button and small blind, and there were four to the flop. 82Q didn’t have a lot of possibilities (apart from a flush draw); when action got to me I bet 90 on my queens, getting calls from the button and big blind. I made two pair with K on the turn, which was a good thing. My bet this time was 400 and I got an all-in call from the button that folded the big blind. I had it covered by 1K, and it was a bounty tournament, after all, so I called. The button had had me until the king showed up, with 8Q; now the smaller of two pairs. Got a bounty and was up to 4,800 chips at the start of hand 5.

The last hand was a whopper. I had A3 in the big blind and was heads-up pre-flop with the biggest stack at the table, with about 9K vs. my 4,900. I got two pair on a 7A3 flop. Not much more than you could ask for there, eh? The big stack bets 120, and I figure he’s got some sort of ace, but I’ve got AxKx beat. I raise him to 510 and he calls. Now things look a little diceier because the turn is K. I’ve still got most ace combinations beat, but there is a massive flush draw on the board. I check. Big stack bets out 1,140 after I check. This is the point where I should tell myself: “You still have 4,355 chips, you’ve only got 570 in the pot. Just stay in the tournament.” I call instead. Q on the turn.

I check again and the big stack shoves in, essentially doubling the pot, since the pot is just a little larger than my stack. I call. Then he turns over 33, a hand I wasn’t even thinking of and which had me walloped from the turn.

Gone in a little over half an hour. 1,725th place out of 1,770 players.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Off to a good start with a double-up via QJ giving me a higher straight on hand four. Then the Mutant Jack AJ cut me in half when AQ and I both double-paired—him on the turn and me, uselessly, on the river. Two hands later I had QA and ran into AK, and lost another 1,500 chips.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

Overplayed a TT hand. Our table had six seated at the 120/240 level and hijack raised my small blind to 650. I re-raised to 1,060 and got a call. Then a K hit on the flop and I checked, only to be met with a 720 bet. Raised all-in hoping he just had an ace. No such luck: K7 and he even double-paired on the river. My TT on the next hand didn’t do any better and I was out in 11th.

Full Tilt Midnight Madness! (1,500 chips)

Popped up on the first hand with 99, then again with an almost identical 99 an hour into the match. Pocket JJ were the harbinger of doom for this game, though, with a Q in the hole connecting with the QA of another player. I managed to crawl up from 400 to 1,900 before pocket QQ knocked me back down to less than 150 and the door. 917 of 2,800.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

The first 20 hands were good, with my own QQ filling a king-high straight and doubling me to 4,600. Hung around there for a little bit then stupidcalled someone with a flush and lost over 3,000 chips.

Full Tilt $18,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Over on the fourth hand with TT. There was a T on the flop but K on the river gave KK a better set. Still,

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

My penchant for pulling defeat out of the jaws of victory strikes once again. I double up to 3,300 on hand five with KK, putting me in the top position in the tournament. I stay there for about 20 minutes as eliminations become less frequent, then lose almost 1,000 in four consecutive hands just to see the flop with decent cards that just don’t pan out. I try to get fancy with 97 in the 150/300 big blind when the button raises all-in to 675 and the small blind calls. I go along for the ride and the board gives me a gutshot straight draw: K65. I shouldn’t call the 900 bet of the big blind and we both check our way through the turn (2) and river (5). Button had middle pair on the flop: A6. I’m out on the next hand with QT and an open-ended straight draw on the flop. 10th place gets me another chance at Step 1.

Full Tilt $4,500 KO Guarantee (1,500 chips)

My eighth hand K8 makes top pair on the flop and another player and I go to the mats only to have him outkick me with K9.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Made it up to 6,600 by twenty minutes in and more or less glided into the Step 2 ticket.

Encore Club (5,000 chips)

Only eleven players in the game makes my table five-handed and play is slow and methodical, with only one rebuy, yet there’s a steady bleeding of chips in the direction of just a couple of the players. I manage to take a couple of pots but I’m down a bit when we consolidate to a ten-player table. After that action heats up and I’m eliminated 9th of 11.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Corkscrewed in after just seven minutes.

Full Tilt The Ferguson (1,500 chips)

Ditto.

Full Tilt Step 2 Turbo 18-Player (1,500 chips)

Had my last chips taken by a 5x7x.

Full Tilt miniFTOPS Event #20 $125,000 Guarantee Rush (4,000 chips)

Could this have gone any worse? Sixth hand in I get AK. The flop is 4QA and I’m head-up. I bet 150 after the flop and get raised to 320, which I call. 8 shows up on the turn, so I’ve got an ace pair with a high kicker and the nut flush draw. The other player bets 860 and I idiotically go all-in for 3,600. He calls, shows QA for two pair, a 2 shows on the river and I’m down to 30 chips which are gone the next hand.

Full Tilt $18,000 Rush Guarantee Rebuy (1,500 chips)

Got off to an early start—although I joined the game half an hour in—with 87 in the big blind. Three limpers. The flop’s good for both straight and flush possibilities: T29 and I check to see what the mood is. Hijack—with more than 10K in his stack—bets 200 and I’m the only caller. The turn makes my flush with Q and I bet 200, getting a raise to 900. I go all-in for 1,250 total and get a call. He shows 8J for a straight but he’s beat. I pick up another 1,600 just five hands down the road.

My stack hovers around 5K for twenty minutes or so until my AQ runs into a set of sixes and I’m down to 1,500. I double up then next hand beating 4x4x by pairing the smaller part of my A5 but lose the whole thing with KA on the next hand to 53 and a set of fives and TT splitting portions of my stack.

Diamonds Are Forever

Cake Irish Open Quarter-Final Satellite (1,000 chips)

I guess I still have my heart set on going to Dublin in April. There are so few people playing on Cake that, comparatively, it’s actually harder to make it the next level of play in these contests. A lot of the Quarter-Final events (eight a day) get cancelled for lack of players, and even some of the ones that run don’t award tickets to the Semis, because there’s no guarantee. So I entered this Q-F satellite to see if I could maximize my investment.

AK about ten minutes in put me over 2,600 when I called a short-stack all-in on a 44J flop and caught A on the turn to beat jacks-up. My own pocket pair of JJ almost felted me seven hands later, when I called another all-in and he got his second ace on the flop.

I managed to work my way back up with hands like AQ and 7A and 99. A little over an hour into the game I’d made it to the 4,500 chip mark, just as the final table was consolidated. A lay-down with TA on a Broadway draw that went as far as the turn turned annoying when the other guy flashed his unpaired 9K. I went out on a T9 hand with an unfilled open-ended straight and four-flush against an ace-high caller. Got sixth place and a sub-min cash leftover prize for 100 minutes of play. ROI of -27%.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Did my usual brief submarining in this event, skimming just below the starting stack while I tested for the right opportunity and hoping that it actually showed up. Eight minutes in, I picked up JT. I was down to 1,070 after losing blinds and bets on a couple of suited QxKx hands. Action folded to me in the hijack and I min-raised to 60. The button—big stack at the table with more than 3,500 chips—raised to 150. The big blind called, as did I. I had top pair on the T36 flop and bet 300  after a check from the big blind. Button raised to 615 and I called, leaving 300 back. The blind got out of the way. I checked after a Q on the turn and the button put me all-in to call. I didn’t figure the queen made much of a difference to his hand and called. I double-paired with J on the river and the button turned over 99, behind from the flop.

A lucky AA just four hands later more than doubled me up to more than 5K when I took out two players with  JJ and QA. Three hands after that a tentative excursion with A2 made trips on the QAA flop and both other players to the flop having queens kept them on the line through the river.

I took some hits that brought me down from more than 3K fro 6,500, then started building again. An AJ Mutant Jack at the 40-minute mark netted me 4,400 and put me over 10K for the first time, but only by making me sweat for the river A to beat the pocket QQ of the all-in I called.

Just before the first break, a relatively innocuous-looking K6 ended up in my hand in the cutoff position. Blinds were 80/160. The hijack, with called. I called, and everyone behind me limped in, too. The flop was 42K and I had top pair as well as a 2nd nut flush draw (and potential straight flush). The blinds and hijack checked and I made a small bet of 240. Button folded, small blind called, and everyone else got out of the way. The 7 hits on the turn. There’s 1,300 in the pot. I can’t make a straight flush any more but with me holding the 6. the only way he can is if he’s got A5—and if he’s got the ace and can make any flush he beats me. He can’t have a full house yet. His stack is 3,500, I’ve got him covered by almost 10K. He checks and I feign weakness with a bet of 240. He calls. Maybe he’s got a single club and he’s hoping for a fourth on the board. Maybe he thinks the same of me. The T shows on the river. There’s no chance of a full house. He has to have two clubs with an ace to beat me. He bets 650 and I raise to put him all-in. He has a flush but it’s J5 and I’m sitting just under 18K while the break is on.

The graph shows a little blip after things start back up when I take a couple of hits. A call against a 4K stack goes awry when he has pocket KK and I only have JJ in mine and four to a straight on the board. Losing another 1,500 on the next hand with AJ busts me down to 11K, but the third monster in a row—AK—almost doubles me up when I call two all-ins holding AJ and 99 then get a KQK flop that stays good through the river.

The most notable event of this match was a mechanical mistake on my part. The game had been going for about 300 hands, we were 100 minutes in (it’s Rush poker). The blinds were 200/400/50 and I was on the button with J9 and 39K in chips, 3rd at the table in stack size. UTG+3 limped, the hijack (#2 stack with 49K) raised to 1,600. I called, thinking it might be a largish pot and I might be able to take it if the cards came out in the middle ranks. The big blind (13K, the smallest at the table) called and UTG+3 (25K) was along for the ride. The flop was TQ5 which didn’t do much for my hearts but did give me an open-ended straight draw. There were two checks and the big stack bet 4K. I called, along with the blind and UTG+3 folded. Another spade dropped on the turn: 5, pairing the board, as well. The small-stacked big blind went all-in, getting a call from the big stack. I did not want to call a bet for a third of my stack here, even with 5,600 already in the pot. Potential flush on the board, full house possibilities—heck, just a 5x had me beat—but I didn’t pay close enough attention to my cursor and—honest— called instead of folding. 7 showed up on the river, the short stack had my rank but in diamonds (J9, and the big stack had my flush with a bigger card 6Q that made top pair on the board and took a profit of 32K.

After that I struggled along for another 100 hands, making some ground and then losing it, briefly making it over 30K again but having trouble keeping ahead of the blinds. My last hand was 140 minutes into the game. I was the short stack in the big blind at 500/1,000/125, with 25K in chips. My cards were another A2. UTG+3 min-raised, hijack called, I called, and the big blind folded. The flop was 5QJ, not particularly good for me but I put in a bet of 1,500 to test the waters and got called by both other players. Another diamond (5) on the turn told me to push but I should have taken another look at the board before I did that because I still would have had ten big blinds deep in the tournament. I bet 2,000 and was called by UTG+3, but got a raise to 12,000 from the hijack. I called, along with UTG+3. I thought I was so special when the 3 showed up on the river and went all-in for 9,335. UTG+3 got out of the way with 40K but the hijack showed his JJ for a full house and took in 42K.

34th place out of 1,219 entries. ROI of 232%. Top prize in the tournament was about 72 times what I made.

Full Tilt MiniFTOPS Event #1 (5,000 chips)

I took the profit I made from the Rush tournament and put it into the first event of the series.

Play went slowly for me for over an hour. I’d dropped almost 2,000 chips, almost steadily, until about the 90th hand. My best hand—AQ—met absolutely no resistance and got me 60 chips of blinds; nothing else I had made more than a couple hundred. I was watching pros bust out right and left; WSOP Main Event 3rd-place finisher Joseph Cheong was gone before I was.

Finally, I managed to double up by doing something stupid. I had AQ and 750 in the 1,950 pot heads-up on a flop of J35. My opponent checked, I bet 220, and he went all-in with a larger stack than mine. I called with 2,220 and crossed my fingers and Q shoed on the turn, with T on the river. He turned over JK. No flush. I was up to 6,390. I lost a bit when I was bluffed off QQ with a board holding an ace, a pair of 8s and three spades. To rub it in, the guy showed a garbage JQ. He busted out thirteen hands later, though.

I had a little lull before I started building back up, but I was nowhere near the chip average. Then my flushing problem again reared its ugly head. I called a min-raise to 400 from the button with 9A. Both the blinds were in, as well as UTG+2, who’d made the raise. The flop was 677 and UTG+2 bet 1,000. I called. I probably should have raised but I doubt that would have done anything for me except lose me more money. The blinds folded and T hit the turn. I had a gut-shot straight draw to go with my nut flush draw. He bet another 2,000 and I had to call. But it was not to be. 6 on the river. He showed JJ—even a river ace would have beaten him—and I was down to 4K.

I turned diamonds into chips with JT about ten minutes later, though. I had about 3,500 in the cutoff at 120/24/25 and called a raise to 480 from UTG+2. A call from the big blind meant there were three of us to the flop. I had a gut-shot straight draw with 48Q and decided to take a stab at it with a 500 bet when both players ahead of me checked. Only UTG+2 called. The turn was 2 and I just checked the action through to the river, which was J. UTG+2 had about 1,500 more than me and bet out nearly half his stack with 1,800. I raised all-in to 2,500, not believing he had the queen. Then he folded and I was up over 7K again.

That was brief, as I dipped down below the starting stack again before recovering to almost 9K with K6 (more diamonds!) It was an incredibly ugly hand. I called the 280 big blind (holding 5,300 behind) from UTG+2. The button raised to 840, with another 4,400. The large stack (21K) at the table in the big blind called the raise, and when I did the same there were three to a flop of 4TK. The big stack checked and I opened with 750 to see if that would protect my pair. It did, but only marginally. After the button called the big stack folded, which probably saved me on this one.

With 2 on the turn, the hand was decidedly unfriendly to my diamonds, but I put out a bet of 560 into the pot of 4,385 and got a call. The 5 hit the river. I decided to see what the button would do and checked. Check. He had QJ for an open-ended straight draw but no spade and my kings were best.

It was a decidedly un-premium diamond hand just four deals later that got me to my peak in the tournament. I had Q2 in the small blind with three limpers behind me and over 8K in chips, so I put in another 140 chips. The big blind checked and five players got to the 384 flop. I had third nut flush draw in first position to act, so I bet 420. Only the big blind and hijack called. The K gave me the second nut flush. The A was still out there potentially, so I only opened with 560. It was down to me and the hijack. T on the river. No four of a kind or full house possibilities. The only thing that could beat me was a hand with two diamonds including the ace. I made another 560 bet. The hijack raised to 2,240 and I called, figuring I had another 5K if he had the better flush. He had the A but his second card was only a J, so I was up to 13.5K.

It wasn’t for long, though. Just seven minutes later I was dealt AK in the small blind. UTG+1 raised to 777 and there were four callers, including the hijack and both us blinds.

The flop was 535. I should have taken the story of the earlier A to heart and left it alone—since I had no connection to the cards on the board—but instead I opened with a 510 bet. UTG+1 dropped out but three of us saw the 4 on the turn. A gut-shot straight draw!

I really need to pay more attention to pairs on the board.

I checked, to be sneaky. The big blind checked. Hijack bet 1,020 which only I called. I made a pair with the K on the river. I bet about 10% of the 6,903 pot. Then the hijack went all in for far more than I had. He was just bluffing, right? I called.

33 in his hand. Full house since the flop. If only I’d had 53 instead.

142 minutes of play, made it to 12,140th place in a field of 27,539 (top 45th percentile). Not a stellar showing but I outlasted more than half the field.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Doubled up at the five-minute mark withKA. Then I got only minimal return when a larger stack shoved all-in on the turn and was called by me and a start-size stack. I had KQ with the board showing QK22 for two pair; the big stack had KA for just kings and twos; the small stack had 7A for a flush draw. If there had to be a diamond, I wanted it to be the queen; I didn’t want an ace to counterfeit my queens; I could have lived with another two to chop. But the river was the 4. The small stack tripled up to 4,300 and I made a profit of 150 chips.

The Mutant Jack failed me a little while later. AJ in the small blind with 2,600 chips, #2 stack at the table. Min-raise to 80 from UTG+2, I re-raise to 200, big blind calls, and UTG+2 is in. The flop’s 4TJ. I bet 600, everyone falls into my trap and calls. T on the turn. I have two pair with top kicker. I’m all-in. Big blind calls but he’s about 1,300 short. UTG+2 folds. QK for an open-ended straight draw. River’s 9. Well, I still have 1,275. At least, I do until QA slams into AA and drops me below 300. I battle back up over 1,000 before 88 cuts me down in the 21st minute. 357th place out of 1,137 entrants.

Cake Poker Roma 6-Max

Played some short-handed cash game to kill some time. Killed 80¢ faster than I killed time.

Full Tilt Satellite to MiniFTOPS #2 (300 chips)

Didn’t I say something about not playing Super Turbo tournaments? Shouldn’t that go double (at least) for Omaha Hi/Lo Super Turbo satellites? I wanted to see if I could get in to the $50K Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournament without paying the full entry fee—not having played anywhere near as much Omaha as Hold’em—and figured this would be a chance to see how I fared.

I did well almost right off the bat. On the third hand I was on the small blind and got J64T. There were four limpers (including myself) and the big blind checked. The flop came out 7Q8 leaving me needing 9x for a queen-high straight. There were four checks and a bet of 150—half everyone’s stack— from UTG+3. I called and two other players were in, too. A T on the turn cinched it up for me. I went all-in. UTG called, having a little bit over my stack.  UTG+1 re-raised all-in, also having me covered, followed by an all-in call by UTG+3 and a call from UTG. The river was 9.

There was 1,142 in the main pot with a side pot of 66. My queen-high straight was the best hand and I got the main pot but the side pot went to UTG, with 6396 for a ten-high straight. No low hand.

I lost most of it in short order. AK5T in my hand. There’s a 4 and a 3 on the board by the turn and I’m hoping for a deuce on the river. But someone else makes it and takes both high and low pots and I’m back down to starting stack with the blinds at 20/40.

Two pair on the flop knocks me down to 17 chips but I manage to triple that up with a different two pair the next hand. It all goes away then. 81st out of 155.

Puffmammy Tournament 20 (1,500 chips)

What a mess. I was worried that if I missed the game tonight I’d fall too far behind D to realistically catch up. The good news is that he only gained two points on me. The bad news is that I could have skipped the game to see Stan Ridgway, lost four instead of two points and been three buy-ins and an add-on richer.

Two ugly points about the night. I was all in after the flop for, I think, the second time of the night. Playing against W, who’s typically pretty loose. I had AxQx and W flips Ax2x There’s an ace on the board. Everything goes fine until the river when another two shows up and I’m re-buying.

Then, just before the end of the re-buy period, I’ve got most of my stack in the pot. I can’t re-buy again but there’s an add-on available at the break coming up. I started the hand with AxTx and flopped KxQx but nothing showed on the turn and there are two large stacks all-in in front of me. If I don’t catch my card, I’m out first for the night. If I fold, I’ve got a paltry stack that I can almost double with the 500 chips. I fold and the Jx shows on the river. G wins the hand with a king-high straight and I kick myself for the rest of the night as my little chips dwindle away. No recovery this night.

Made it to see Stan, though.

Wherefore Art Thou, EV?

Full Tilt Step 3 18-Player

If I didn’t know I was doing it—and it was happening to someone I didn’t like—it would be almost funny.

Wins with 88 and QQ had doubled me up fifteen minutes into the game, putting me well into the lead at my table. Then an attempt to close the action when I made top pair on a 744 board by pushing the smaller stack all-in to call backfired when he called with a far-behind KA but paired on the turn. Down to 650 chips.

But because I’m good, I managed to battle back up over 3K (including 1,100 won with AJ flushing) as other players were eliminated. I’d even made it to the edge of the Step 3 ticket barrier, going in and out as stacks changed on both tables. I lost a little on one call that I backed off of but I was still over 2,600 when I got JA on the big blind at 60/120. UTG went all-in and everyone else folded. I didn’t need to call. He had 1K less than I did. I could get the chips on a less-dodgy hand. But I called and he flipped over QA. I got two pair but the board was AK3JT and he got the straight.

Fine. I was down to 1,256. Ten big blinds. I went all-in from the small blind with 1,076 and KJ. The button called with 99. The board was 7A43T, leaving me short  a queen for the straight and a diamond for the higher flush.

Out in 11th place with no ticket.

Saw The Jim-Jams last night. My puffmammy nemesis D is playing the Encore Club‘s $5K Tournament of Champions Freeroll tonight because he won a tournament there last month. I wish him luck but hope to crush home come our next game (which is going to make me miss Stan Ridgway‘s show next week).

Mutant Jacks Rule…For a While

Puffmammy Tournament 19 (1,500 chips)

This seemed to be going okay at first. My goal for the night was to bust out later than D, who took the POY lead away from me last event but was only a point ahead. He was seated two seats to my left at the second—six-handed—table at the beginning of the event. I was holding my own until the player between us wiped out the first of six (out of thirteen total) players she’d eliminate before she won first place. After that, the dynamics changed a lot, and I got over-extended on one particular straight draw that she bluffed me out of on the turn. I was close to dead after that and since it was after the end of re-buys I went out ignominiously in twelfth place. D made it to the money and extended his lead to twelve points. That means no skipping out to attend Stan Ridgway’s concert at Mississippi Studios on March 7th if I want to maintain a chance to win by the series’s end in May.

Full Tilt Step 1 18-Player (1,500 chips)

This tournament didn’t work as an attempt to clear the taste of my earlier loss at the live game from my mouth by getting back on the Steps. I won a hand with JT, lost twice as much with QA, then played JQ on the tenth hand from UTG and got a Q32 flop. There was only 120 in the pot and the small blind bet out 120, I re-raised to 300, he three-bet to 480 and I called. A T hit on on the turn and he went all-in. I stupidcalled and he flipped over Q3 for two pair and a flush draw. The A nailed the coffin shut.

Encore Club (5,000 chips)

My initial outing here went well for the first hour. I got AJ about thirty-five minutes into the game and pushed hard on a player on the other end of the table who I figured had flopped kings and tens. I just had a gutshot straight draw on the flop but another ace on the turn scared him off when I raised, putting me up about 3,000 from the starting stack, overall. He wasn’t happy when I showed my hand, and shortly thereafter he had to re-buy.

I took the same player out on the last hand before the break with another Mutant Jack: AJ.

The second hour didn’t go so well, however. I only got a couple of good hands; everyone folded on a raise with AKo, and then a big blind special of AK met an extremely ugly flop and I folded. I can’t even remember my last hand, but it came not too long before the end of the second hour, at the final table. Seventh place out of eighteen, three positions short of the money.

I Never Flush

Full Tilt Midnight Madness (1,500 chips)

Three hands in and there are four after the flop with 390 chips in the pot. I have 8A, there’s 2QJ on the board and I’m first to act in the small blind. I bet 200, there’s a fold and two calls. The turn’s 4 and I push out another 200. UTG+1 calls and UTG+3 goes all-in for 1,180. Everyone calls. The last card’s 8 and UTG+3 with QT loses to UTG’s straight made with T9 (as do I).

Full Tilt $2,500 KO Guarantee (2,000 chips)

I win exactly one hand during my four minutes in this match and it does not come with a knockout bounty.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Ten minutes in and I get JK as UTG+1. I raise to 120 (4xBB) and get a re-raise to 405 from a stack with twice my chips in the hijack. I call. The flop is 52A and I check, then he bets 625. I call and the turn’s 7. I’ve got nine possible draws to an ace-high flush, just like I did in Midnight madness. I bet 120 with 865 behind and he raises all-in. I call. The river is T. He’s got KA and I’m out.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 6-Max (1,500 chips)

I did a little better here than in my last attempt. I managed to get up to 4K, then was busted back to 1.5K, with a last-minute double-up before I busted out in third place. No step up but I didn’t lose any ground.

Full Tilt $10,000 Rush Guarantee (1,500 chips)

A slightly longer run into the $10K than the one above but nothing to be proud of. I got beat down on a couple of hands where TA and KT failed to connect, then managed to pull off a triple up. I was in the big blind at 20/40 when I picked up AA. UTG raised to 155, action folded to the button, who called, the small blind folded and I raised to 640. Both of the others came along and the pot had over 1,900. After the flop of Q67 I went all-in for 1,270. UTG called. The button went all-in for 2,525 and UTG gave up. There was 5,750 in the pot, the button flipped over Q8 and with T on the turn and 4 on the river it was mine. I managed to blow it with another ten combo—TK—just seven hands later when trip sixes beat my pair of kings and straight draw, taking 4,630 off of me. I lasted about 20 minutes after that but never made it back over 1,200 chips.

Full Tilt Step 1 Turbo 18 Players (1,500 chips)

I had a couple near-fatal setbacks in this tournament, but in the 18-player Sit & Gos Steps the top four spots all step up. I’d been up over 3K, then back down to just over 2K when I played 9A from the small blind. There were four to the flop, which was an intriguing 7T2. I made a pot-sized bet of 800 after the flop and the button raised all-in to 1,240. After my call, the turn made my nut flush with 3. Then the whole thing fell apart with a 2 on the river and a TT in my opponent’s hand. I managed to build up to 5K by the end of the tournament, about 75 minutes after the first hand.

Full Tilt Rush Flash

It had been a while since I sat down at a ring game and even longer since I hit the Rush tables. I played for about half an hour, losing my entire first stake on the second hand with pocket 9s against pocket kings. I bought back in and rebuilt, eventually coming out ahead with a BB/100 hands of 11.

Cake $1,000 Guarantee (1,500 chips)

Stupid moves on my part knocked me out here in 106th place out of 161 players. Another ATo I shouldn’t have played, and an obvious pair of kings on the board that beat my pocket 9s, even without another king in my opponent’s hand.

Full Tilt Rush Mach 10

A quarter hour at a slightly higher stake, I managed to pull out of a trough and make it into profitability before the end with a ten combination but only because my cards were higher than the other player who followed the trip sevens on the board. BB/100 of 3.5.

Full Tilt Rush Mach 10

This 77-minute excursion managed to eradicate the gains of the earlier sessions. After the seventh minute, I was never in the black. A QK made it to four spades by the turn but no flush. TJ paired the ten on the flop for both myself and the guy holding QT. KA paired but couldn’t beat trip fives. BB/100 of -15.5.

Full Tilt Step 2 Turbo (1,500 chips)

Turbo it was. Thirty minutes from start to finish—even with only nine people—is pretty fast. I got knocked down to 1K fairly quickly but managed to double up after a dozen minutes with an all-in move and KA that matched the king on the turn. Another lucky AK only ten hands later breathed some more life into my stack. I ended up going out in third place with a K9 that failed to connect with anything. Didn’t lose ground but no step up.

Puffmammy Tournament 18 (1,500 chips)

Lost a couple of early pots that hindered my play in the first rounds. Managed to build things back up but had a huge chip stack on my right for most of my night. I was in decent shape going into the break but just didn’t get the right cards at the right time as I was trying to outlast D. Didn’t work. Lost the POY point lead for the first time since mid-October, going out 6th of 8. Only down by a point, though, since D went out on the bubble (4th).

Cake $1,000 Guarantee – Bounty (3,000 chips)

Took two bounties in a three-way ace-off three-quarters of an hour into the match. I had AQ on the button at 75/150. UTG+3 goes all in for 1,959. Cutoff is all-in for 1,123. I’ve got 4,560 and call, the blinds fold. The cards go over 9A for UTG+3 and A7 for the cutoff. The board delivers K5Q A T and I’m up to almost 8K. I lose most of that running pocket queens into pocket aces a few minutes later, build back up to more than 5K, then end up with less than 2 big blinds when my AQ is beat by A4. Someone takes my bounty on the next hand when I go out 37th of 96.

Full Tilt Step 2 (1,500 chips)

Nine players in another Steps outing, hoping to get far enough during FTOPS to play a game. JJ in the big blind puts me over 2,500 chips and into first position a dozen minutes in when the chip leader and I play chicken with our pocket pairs. It’s a scary board for me with 49AQ5 but I would have assumed it was even more so for his 77. I mostly rest and slide (with a couple of wins) down to 1,950 when I get AT in the big blind. There are seven players left, the hijack raises to 300, and the button foes all-in for 1,385. I call and so does the hijack. A tantalizing 247 shows on the flop, I check, and hijack raises to put me all-in. There’s nearly 5K in the pot; I’ve got nine outs to the nut flush; I call and each of my opponents turn over a pair of queens. Their hands aren’t going to improve. Mine doesn’t with a J on the turn, but the river is 6. At 40 minutes in I’m back in first place (top two win Step 3 tickets).

I take a flier on KT a few hands later and lose 1,000 so I decide I’d better cool it. Ten minutes later we’re down to five players and I get A5 on the button. I’m down to 3,830 chips, the blinds are 80/160. I call after two folds and the small blind is in. Three to the flop of 343. Once again, very tantalizing. Everyone checks for another card, the 2 which makes my straight and gives me a flush draw. Not to mention a straight flush draw. The big blind bets 160 when it’s his time and I raise the 640 chip pot to 1,600. Big blind goes all-in and there’s 4,860 in the pot when the Q shows on the river. He’s got J3 for trip threes but no 2, 3, 4, or jack shows to save him from fifth place.

I clamp down hard on myself. With 6,100 chips, I have twice what any of the other three players do. I do push an AT hard on a 2879 turn to push two players off and pick up 1,200 but mostly I let the rest of the players fight amongst themselves. The final hand I get 55 in the small blind and follow the short stack all-in for about 2K. I have enough behind that I’m still the chip leader if I lose. He has AK but the flop is 45Q. Even A on the turn doesn’t help him.

I guess I do flush once in a while.